In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Ghosts and gory tales on five walks for Halloween and half-term
Celebrate Halloween this half-term with a family walk celebrating ancient, gory myths and spooky legends at these historic National Trust sites – sure to keep even reluctant walkers from falling behind the group.
The ghost of Anne Boleyn on the Blickling Mausoleum walk, Norfolk
Anne Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry VIII, beheaded in 1536 for not providing him with a son. Unlike most ghosts who haunt a particular locality, Queen Anne Boleyn’s ghost is thought to haunt a number of different locations throughout the UK. One of these is in the grounds of Blickling Hall – her possible birthplace. She is often seen dressed all in white, seated in a ghostly carriage drawn by headless horses and pulled by a headless coachman. Anne is also headless, holding her head securely in her lap – so look out for her on this walk!
On arrival at Blickling Hall, the coach and driver vanish leaving the headless Anne to glide into Blickling Hall where she roams the corridors and rooms until day break. There will also be an after-dark tour of the hall on Saturday 27 October from 6pm, and on Halloween night itself a spooky “Tiptoe to the Tomb” walk through the woods to the mausoleum (7pm, £5pp) .
Gelert’s grave walk, Beddgelert, Snowdonia, Wales
According to legend, the stone monument in the fields here marks the resting place of “Gelert” the faithful hound of the Welsh Prince, Llywelyn the Great (Beddgelert means “Gelert’s grave”). The story, as written on the tombstone reads: “In the 13th century Llywelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, ‘The Faithful Hound’, who was unaccountably absent. On Llywelyn’s return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood. The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry. Llywelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but nearby laid the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain.”
The prince, filled with remorse, is said never to have smiled again.
How stressed are business travellers?
If work-related stress is a “21st-century disease”, as the International Labour Organization puts it, what happens when a busy travel schedule is added to the equation?
According to a new study by a corporate travel agency, business travellers suffer especially keenly from stress. Using data gleaned from 6,000 travellers, Carlson Wagonlit Travel found that unpleasant ‘surprises’ like flight delays and luggage loss were the highest trigger of stress, especially for female travellers who were also more fazed by ‘routine breakers’ like not being able to eat healthily.
However, women felt decidedly less stressed about flying economy than men.
CWT’s “Travel Stress Index” also found that frequent fliers (over 30 trips per year) get most stressed from ‘lost time’, with factors relating to the reimbursement of expenses, and from flying with a non-preferred airline, adding to their unease.
Because senior air warriors in particular travel so much, their stress levels have no time to drop before they set off on another trip. This is why, CWT says, there’s a difference of four ‘stress points’ between frequent travellers and occasional travellers.
While commending a study into a rarely examined issue, Cary L. Cooper, distinguished professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School, disputes the idea of specific stress triggers to travellers.
“When people are travelling, it’s not just about bags and all the rest of it – it’s about the whole process: Separation from your family for a period of time; the hassle of the airport; travelling ‘cattle class’; problems with hotels – it does accumulate up,” he said by telephone.
France delays breathalyser fine
Plans to introduce on-the-spot fines for motorists not carrying a breathalyser in France have been delayed until next spring – but the testing kit remains a legal requirement.
The French Interior minister has delayed the introduction of an €11 fine until some regions in the country get enough of the breathalyser kits in stock.
Carrying a breathalyser became a legal requirement in France this summer, although a survey carried out at the time suggested the majority of British motorists were unaware of the new legislation.
The kit must carry the blue circular “Norme Française” (NF) logo (the equivalent of the BSI kite mark in Britain) to comply with the rules.
These can be purchased online, including from Halfords and Amazon. Other products are reportedly being sold as French breathalysers, but won’t necessarily satisfy the French police, according to Green Flag, the motoring breakdown service.
“Although fines to enforce the new regulation may not come into effect until March, demand for these testing kits is likely to be high,” said Miranda Schunke of Green Flag.
“We’d strongly advise all motorists considering driving in France to invest in some breathalysers well in advance of their trip, to avoid last minute panics, and more importantly, breaking the law.”
The organisation advises motorists to carry at least two NF-certified breathalysers, which can be used to check a driver’s blood alcohol level. The legal limit in France is 0.5 grams per litre, which equates to 50mg per 100ml of blood, lower than the 80mg limit in Britain.
World Lifesaving Championship visitors get a crash course in Aussie slang
Foreign competitors and officials attending next month’s Lifesaving World Championships can expect teasing, casual service and crude language.
A comprehensive cultural guide prepared by the host Surf Life Saving Australia also gives advice on how to order a beer, phrases such as “loo”, “she’ll be right” and “feeling a little crook”.
The Rescue 2012 Australian Lifestyle Briefing document has been sent to 103 team officials from 42 countries to prepare athletes, delegates and supporters for their trip Down Under.
More than 3500 competitors from Australia, Asia, Europe, South America, the US and Africa will contest the event from November 7 to 18.
The event will take place across Glenelg Beach, Christies Beach and the State Aquatic Centre.
Rescue 2012 protocol manager John Fitzgerald, a leading official who was formerly SLSA’s director of development, wrote the briefing document.
The former educator said the contents were a combination of research and his own personal experiences.
He said they were designed to make overseas visitors feel more comfortable and better enjoy their stay.
“This is written for people coming from overseas who are part of the international lifesaving community … competitors and ILS officers,” he said.